As the name suggests, the neighborhood is home to Steinway & Sons,
the legendary piano maker. In 1870, William Steinway, son of the company
founder, purchased a large tract of land in northwest Queens and moved
the cramped operations to a new home along the East River. Along with
the factory, he built Steinway Village, a company town with its own post
office, church, library and housing for employees.
The company also provided a park for recreation. Further east along thet
river, Steinway established North Beach, an amusement park and beer garden
for his mostly German employees. But Queens' version of Coney Island did
not prove as resilient, finally closing with Prohibition. Today the North
Beach land is occupied by La Guardia airport.
The Steinway & Sons factory continues its production in the same
location today. And using the original, hand-made processes, it is the
leading manufacturer of pianos in the world.
The Steinway factory
While Steinway and neighboring areas have grown and merged, vestiges
of the original workers' village are still easily found. The Steinway
Reformed Church is still active at 41 Street and Ditmars. The Steinway
Library, which was started from William Steinway's private collection,
is now part of the Queens Library system. The Steinway branch on 31 Street
still displays a painting of William Steinway.
And the Steinway mansion built by William Steinway is still a private
residence on 41 Street, originally Albert Street, named for one of his
sons. (Current 42 Street was named Theodore Street, also for one of his
A group of two-story brick houses stands on 20th Avenue and 41st Street.
They boast stone window lintels and recessed entrances. Built before 1880
as employee housing, they are Landmark quality homes.